Biography from OAH site:

June 1969 - B.A., Political Science, UCSB
May 1972 - J.D., UC Davis
1972-1973 - Staff Counsel, DMV
1974-1975 - Private Practice, Jensen & Ahler
1976-1980 - Private Practice, Roden & White
1981-1990 - Private Practice, Roden & Ahler
1991-1994 - Private Practice, Roden, Ahler & Thompson
March 1994-Present - Office of Administrative Hearings, San Diego Regional

"AV" Rated Attorney with Martindale Hubbell since 1987  [Maura Larkins
comment: Apparently Martindale Hubbell is easily impressed.]

Recipient, Outstanding Trial Lawyer Award, San Diego Trial Lawyers

Director, North San Diego County Bar Association  [Maura Larkins
comment:  Ah!  Perhaps this explains why Judge Ahler hasn't been fired.]
H. James Ahler
Administrative Law Judge, OAH
Linda Watson report

The Linda Watson story gets
even more bizarre when the
Office of Administrative
Hearings gets involved.

During Maura Larkins' dismissal
hearing, when Maura Larkins
testified about Linda Watson's
fear that she was "going
to be dead," Administrative
Judge Ahler jumped up and
stood a while, while everyone
else in the hearing room sat
silently at attention.  Then Ahler
went into a small side room,
about three feet from the
witness chair where Maura
Larkins was sitting.  

Ahler motioned the two other
panelists of the Commission on
Professional Competence
(Barbara Abeyta and Terry
Olson) to come into the room
with him.  They trotted over
obediently.  Out of the hearing of
the court reporter, the judge told
the panelists (within the hearing of
Maura Larkins) that they were to
disregard what Maura Larkins
had just said.  

He told them the panelists that
Larkins didn't know about
Watson's attitude at the time she
made her allegations against
Larkins, the allegations didn't
have anything to do with
Larkins' state of mind.  No--of
course not--but the allegations
certainly did have a lot to do
OF MIND!  The accuser was
clearly unreliable!   Watson had
a strong motive to lie, to invent a
story that would cause Larkins
to be removed again.  This
motive is in addition to her
motive of not wanting Larkins to
find out that Watson had
committed a crime against
Larkins.  Perhaps Watson's
guilty knowlege that she had
harmed Larkins made her come
up with the absurd notion that
Larkins would use some forum
other than a legal one to seek
redress.  The six years that have
passed since 2001 have proven
that Larkins is interested only in
telling the truth, and pursuing
justice in the courts.

As he gave instructions to the
two panelists out of hearing of
the court reporter, Ahler realized
that Larkins could hear him.  

He shut the door, and
remained behind the door for
about 10 minutes.
When he came back out, he made
no mention of the bizarre trip to
the side room.  The court reporter
began recording again as if
nothing had happened.  

For these actions and other
misbehavior in this case,
Judge Ahler was placed on
a two-week suspension.
[This was after he killed a man when
he was driving drunk.  What would
Judge Ahler have to do to actually get
Judge Ahler's letter to Barbara Abeyta dated February 13, 2003, two days
Why did Judge
Ahler not
provide a copy
of the decision
to Abeyta and
Olson before it
became final?

Was he afraid they
might object to the
blatant falsehoods it

If so, his
precautions seem
to have been

Abeyta and
Olson appear to
have no interest
in whether or not
the decision they
signed is illegal
and dishonest.

Abeyta continues to
serve as a
representative to the
National City
Elementary Teachers
What did Barbara Abeyta and Terry Olson get for being docile, cooperative and supportive
of Judge Ahler's arbitrary and illegal actions?

They got the almost identical letters below sent to their school district superintendents.
Letter to Terry Olson's Superintendent
Letter to Barbara Abeyta's
Letter to Judge Ahler, Terry Olson, and Barbara
Abeyta from Maura Larkins:

In the interest of justice, why don't you petition the
court to set aside your decision?  In your defense, you
did not know that CVESD and CTA were guilty of
crimes when you signed your angry decision.

But you knew that you were ignoring the law and the

Why not do the right thing?  Why not do as the state
of Alabama is now doing in the Rosa Parks case?  
Unfortunately, Alabama waited until Rosa Parks was
dead.  Can you do better than that?  No, I didn't think
so.  I just wanted to point out that you could, if you
wanted, right the wrong you have committed.

Maura Larkins
Copyright © 2006 Maura Larkins' San
Diego Education Report.  All Rights
Judge Ahler's use of the word "immediate"
is ironic.

Maura Larkins quietly stayed home for months and months, patiently
waiting for an end to the violations of law against her to end.  

The first "wrong" against her occurred on February 12, 2001, when
she was placed on administrative leave in violation of the Labor Code
and the contract.  
Maura Larkins went back  in March 2001 and April 2001, and each
time new false allegations were made against her.  The first time she
refused to go to work was October 5, 2001, when there STILL HAD
The two
panelists now know that
their decision was
illegal, but refuse to ask
that it be set aside.  But
letters (see below) from
James Ahler indicate that
they signed the decision
without discussing it, and
without reading it.
Abeyta and
Judge Ahler like
sheep, with no
apparent concern
for the truth or
the law.
The Feb 13, 2003 letter
below from Judge Ahler to
Terry Olson indicates that  
Olson signed the decision
page on Mon Feb 10,  2003
NOT Feb 7, 2003
and signed the decision
page without reading
the 27 pages of factual
findings and without
meeting with the other
two panelists!

Ahler's letters indicate
that Terry Olson and
Barbara Abeyta
after the
decision had
become final.
The three OAH
panelists all
falsely wrote
the same date

on the decision page:
Friday February 7, 2003.  
This was apparently an
attempt to pretend that
the signers met together
to discuss the decision.  
The Falsely-Dated Decision Page of the 28-Page Decision of the
Maura Larkins' Case at the Office of Administrative Hearings; Olson
and Abeyta signed it without discussing or even seeing the "findings
of fact."
James Ahler's behavior would
not be tolerated in
San Diego
Administrative Law
Judge James Ahler

The San Diego Union
Tribune reported that
"an administrative law
judge with the State
Personnel Board ruled

Ahler violated his
duty as a judge

"'Such conduct does not
comply with the law,
does not promote public
confidence in the
integrity of the judiciary
and demeans the
judicial office,' Judge
William A. Snyder
wrote..., paraphrasing
Canons of
Judicial Ethics in his
decision upholding
Ahler's demotion."

Members of the COMMISSION
signed  outright falsehoods.
Panelist felt an obligation to
CTA (which wanted to cover
up crimes), but no
obligation to tell the truth
Barbara Abeyta, representative,

National City Elementary Teachers Association,
signed the decision as OAH panelist in the Maura
Larkins case.  The California attorney general's
office reported to Maura Larkins that Ms. Abeyta,
in serving on the OAH panel, felt an obligation as a
union representative.  Clearly, Ms. Abeyta felt no
obligation to honor the rights of a fellow teacher,
only to be loyal to the union.  

Questions for Barbara Abeyta

1) Did CTA pressure you to keep quiet?

2) Did Mary Kay Rosinski  arrange for CTA
Attorney Emma Lehaney to help you get out of
testifying in the
Schulman case?
Feb 13, 2003
Two days
after the decision against Maura Larkins
had become final, Judge Ahler sent copies of the
decision to the two panelists--who had
the last page without seeing the 28-page
Judge Ahler dishonestly pretended that it was safe for Maura Larkins
to go to work, and that the school district wanted her to go to work.
San Diego OAH Judge James Ahler
was anxious to "send a message"
rather than apply the law
Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Ronald Castille, in 2004,
wrote:  "Deliberate attempts to destroy the objectivity and
impartiality of the (jury) so as to cause the verdict to be a product
of emotion rather than reflective judgment will not be tolerated."
San Diego
Judge Ahler wanted to let all teachers know that administrators can
violate the law against them, but teachers can't stay home to protect
Regarding the practice of urging jurors
to "send a message"
Judge James Ahler
made it clear in his
decision that he did not
ALL for Maura Larkins'
students who lost their

On Feb 12, 2001, in the middle of their critical
transition year to English-only instruction,
Maura Larkins' students were given a series of
substitutes who knew very little about how to
teach that class.

Judge Ahler claimed that  it was perfectly
acceptable that the district took Maura Larkins
out of her classroom for seven weeks, then,
after  asking Maura Larkins twice to come back
during that school year, each time demanded
that she leave again.  

Judge Ahler had before him evidence that Asst.
Superintendent Rick Werlin was running around
desperately looking for someone who would
make an allegation against Maura Larkins.  
Gretchen Donndelinger's notes showed how
hard he tried, and how unsuccessful he was.

Attorney Mark Bresee of Parham  & Rajcic
either instructed or advised Werlin to violate
the law again and again, or was willing to accept
taxpayer money for covering up school district
wrongdoing, or both.

James Ahler clearly did not care about Maura
Larkins' students, yet he dishonestly pretended
to care about STUDENTS IN A CLASS AT A
Judges who
ignore the
James Ahler, Terry Olson
and Barbara Abeyta  signed
a compendium of Findings
and Legal Conclusions
which is staggering in its
self-contradictions and
outright falsehoods.

44932(a)(7), 44932(a)(5) and

A.        The COMMISSION
misconstrued the meanings of
“persistent” and “reasonable”
in the
context of “persistent violation of and
refusal to obey the school laws of the
state or reasonable regulations
prescribed by the governing Board” in
SECTION 44932(a)(7).  

B.        The COMMISSION
misconstrued the meaning of
“evident unfitness for service”
SECTION 44932(a)(5).

C.        The COMMISSION
misconstrued “willful refusal to
perform regular assignments
without reasonable cause,
prescribed by reasonable rules and
regulations of the employing school
CODE SECTION 44939.  The
COMMISSION construed this section
of the law by proceeding as if the
word “reasonable” were nowhere to
be found.  

D.        The COMMISSION failed to
consider Maura Larkins’ Affirmative
Defenses, including hostile
environment, and to
construe the law regarding such

E.        The COMMISSION
improperly construed the
MORRISON criteria.

F.        The COMMISSION failed to
consider rights of Maura Larkins
according to the contract, the
Constitution, and the laws of
To Terry Olson, Judge Ahler was

Olson, a school administrator
who refused to get CLAD
training, got an invitation to stop
by the judge's chambers.  The
other panelist, a teacher, did not
get such an invitation.
To Barbara Abeyta, Judge Ahler signed his
name as "Jim Ahler." Unlike Olson, Abeyta
didn't get an invitation to stop by.
What was Maura Larkins'
lawyer doing during this

Attorney Elizabeth Schulman was
trying to protect administrator
Richard Werlin.  She told Maura
Larkins that Werlin was guilty of a
crime, but when Larkins asked that
the crime be revealed in the hearing,
Attorney Elizabeth Schulman said,
"I'm more conservative than you
think."  She said, "It shouldn't be
Chula Vista Elementary School
District lawyers
Mark Bresee,
Daniel Shinoff, Jeffery Morris
and Kelly Angell worked to
cover up crimes committed by
the district and Castle Park
Elementary teachers.
During the hearing Judge Ahler said, "I
love the practice of law."  Exactly.  
Ahler was acting like an oppositional
lawyer against Larkins, not an
unbiased judge.
Larkins case
The Killing is Ironic...
or the Irony is Killing?

Judge Ahler complained bitterly
when he was merely demoted for
driving drunk (an incident in which
Judge Ahler struck and killed a
pedestrian), yet he seems to have
no difficulty tossing off decisions
like this one:

"He promised several courts that
he would not appear drunk in
public and/or would not operate a
motor vehicle under the influence
of alcohol, promises that were
broken due to the unremitting
nature of Ramirez’ disease."


In the Matter of the Statement of
Issues Against:
1771 Smoketree Drive
El Centro, CA 92243
Agency No. 1D-2002-62967
OAH No. L2003040008

James Ahler, Administrative Law Judge,
Office of Administrative Hearings, State
of California heard this matter in San
Diego, California, on July 2, 2003.

Alvin J. Korobkin, Deputy Attorney
General, Office of the Attorney General,
State of California, represented
Complainant Steven K. Hartzell, the
Executive Officer of the Physical Therapy
Board of California, Department of
Consumer Affairs, State of California.

Robert Alan Soltis, Attorney at Law,
represented Respondent Andrew J.
Ramirez, who was present throughout
the administrative proceeding.

On July 2, 2003, the matter was

Application History
1. On January 18, 2002, the Physical
Therapy Board of California (the Board)
received an application from
Respondent Andrew J. Ramirez
(Ramirez) in which Ramirez sought the
issuance of a physical therapist license.

...Cause Exists to Deny the Application

13. Ramirez failed to establish by a
preponderance of the evidence that he
has rehabilitated himself from several
alcohol-related criminal convictions that
are substantially and adversely related
to the qualifications, functions and
duties of a physical therapist. These
convictions span the period from
September 1, 1994 through July 12,
2002, and a criminal action related to
Ramirez’ drinking and driving is
pending. By his own admission,
Ramirez is powerless over alcohol and
he had just 60 days of continuous
sobriety at the time of the administrative
hearing despite years of warnings from
friends and family and numerous
ineffective judicial interventions.

This conclusion is based on Factual
Findings 6, 7 (subparts A-G) and 8-14
and on Legal Conclusions 1-4 and 6.

14. Ramirez failed to establish by a
preponderance of the evidence that he
has recovered from his alcoholism or
that he has rehabilitated himself to the
extent that he can practice safely as a
physical therapist. Ramirez was a
practicing alcoholic for at least 15 years.
He was treated as an inpatient at
Scripps-McDonald and received fairly
intensive counseling in two separate SB
38 programs.
He promised
several courts that he would
not appear drunk in public
and/or would not operate a
motor vehicle under the
influence of alcohol, promises
that were broken due to the
unremitting nature of Ramirez’

While it is sincerely hoped Ramirez
has had his last drink, history warns
us that Ramirez made similar
promises in the past and was unable
to keep them.
In light of this
discouraging history it would not in the
public interest to issue Ramirez a
license at this time, even if it were to be
issued on a probationary basis and
even if it were strictly tied to his
abstinence from the consumption of

This conclusion is based on Factual
Findings 6-14 and on Legal
Conclusions 1-6.

The application for licensure filed by
Andrew J. Ramirez with the Physical
Therapy Board of California is denied.
DATED: July 8, 2003 Original signed by
James Ahler
Office of Administrative Hearings

[Maura Larkins comment: I'm glad if
Judge Ahler has learned not to drink
and drive, but it seems that the logical
inconsistencies of an alcoholic mind
may be present in his thinking.]
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Report Website
Drunk jurist's penalty ruled appropriate
State panel OKs demotion; fatal crash involved judge
By Onell R. Soto
September 21, 2002

A judge who was driving drunk when he struck and killed an intoxicated
pedestrian crossing a dark street was rightly disciplined by supervisors
who demoted him, a state panel ruled last week.

H. James Ahler, 54, of Escondido, hit and killed a pedestrian in
Escondido within an hour of drinking three glasses of wine a year ago,
according to the decision by the California State Personnel Board
released this week.

Ahler has been an administrative law judge with the Office of
Administrative Hearings in San Diego since 1994, typically hearing
cases in which professionals challenge license suspensions.

After the fatal Sept. 18, 2001, crash, he served a night in jail, pleaded
guilty to misdemeanor drunken driving, paid $1,200 in fines and had to
attend counseling and a session in which victims described the impact
of drunken driving, court records show.

Because of his conviction, Ahler – who had been promoted in June
2001 from a position paying $102,614 annually to a higher rank as an
administrative law judge specialist, which pays $107,641 – was

Ahler told officers when he was arrested that he drank three glasses of
wine within an hour of the crash, according to documents from the
personnel board, which hears appeals from state employees who feel
they've been wrongly disciplined.

In Vista Superior Court, Ahler admitted his blood-alcohol level at the
time of the crash was .15 of a percent, nearly twice the .08 of a
percent at which California motorists are presumed to be too drunk to

Ahler was not charged with killing 67-year-old Charles Ames of
Escondido because his drinking didn't contribute to the death, said
prosecutor Evan Miller.

Miller said Ames, whose own blood-alcohol level was .28, crossed
against a red light in a dark corner wearing dark clothing. None of a
half-dozen witnesses to the crash saw him before impact, he said.

Defense lawyer Daniel Cronin said Ahler was not responsible for the

"The pedestrian ran out in front of him," he said. "It would have
happened if he was stone cold sober."

Ahler challenged the demotion, which took place during the standard
probationary period relating to the June 2001 promotion.

In his defense, Ahler argued that his supervisors should have simply
written a letter disapproving his actions, not taken away his promotion.
He said that, except for the conviction, he continues to do his job well.

Lawyer Everett Bobbitt, who represented Ahler before the personnel
board, said the demotion was too harsh, especially because Ahler
continues handling complicated cases and deserves the higher rank.

"It's really not a demotion. They're just taking money away," Bobbitt
said. "The work hasn't changed at all."

But an administrative law judge with the State Personnel Board ruled
Ahler violated his duty as a judge by driving drunk.

"Such conduct does not comply with the law, does not promote public
confidence in the integrity of the judiciary and demeans the judicial
office," Judge William A. Snyder wrote two weeks ago, paraphrasing
the Canons of Judicial Ethics in his decision upholding Ahler's

Snyder said some of the people coming before Ahler might question
his impartiality. He noted that Ahler and his colleagues decide whether
people caught abusing drugs or alcohol can keep their professional
Compare James Ahler's own behavior with his
judgments against others:
From San Diego Union Tribune:

Demotion of jurist after drunken-driving death ruled appropriate
Onell R. Soto; The San Diego Union - Tribune; Sep 21, 2002; pg. B.3.7;

Panel says drunk jurist was properly disciplined
Onell R. Soto; The San Diego Union - Tribune; Sep 21, 2002; pg. NC.1;

Crashes on North County roads kill 3 from Vista | 4 others are injured in 2 deadly
Elizabeth Fitzsimons; The San Diego Union - Tribune; Sep 21, 2001; pg. NC.3.NI;

Man hit by suspected drunken driver dies from his injuries
The San Diego Union - Tribune; Sep 20, 2001; pg. NC.2.NI;
"Police said Charles Ames of Escondido was walking against a red light just
before 9 p.m. at Centre City Parkway and Mission Avenue. He was struck by a
2001 Nissan driven by James Ahler, 53, of Escondido, police said."
Judge Ahler blog posts


Maura Larkins OAH hearing
San Diego Education Report
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Education Report